This week: it's back to where it all began, Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, for our Second Annual 40th Anniversary Live Broadcast and 4th of July Season Finale. There's great American music with JD McPherson, rock-solid rambles from Joe Newberry, and roof-raising soul from Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele. Butch Thompson adds his quintessential piano and clarinet, Tjärnblom rounds things out with a celebration of Minnesota's Scandinavian heritage, and the Macalester College Pipe Band brings some Celtic spirit. Also: a crush of characters from Tim Russell and Sue Scott, and sound effects man Fred Newman sparks fireworks and rockets; music director Rich Dworsky and the band (Bernie Dresel, Larry Kohut, Richard Kriehn, and Chris Siebold) serve up sweltering slices; and the News from Lake Wobegon, with the tried and true traditions of Independence Day in the tiny town. Light the sparklers, spin the pinwheels, and we'll see you on the airwaves for one more live broadcast before we load up and hit the road for our exciting summer tour. Sponsors Macalester College Schell's Brewing
  • JD McPherson

    What do you do when the school board eliminates your job as a middle school art teacher? Singer-songwriter-guitarist JD McPherson collected his last paycheck and revisited an interest that had been there all along: music. The Oklahoma native now puts his singular stamp on the sounds of early R&B and rock 'n' roll. His second album, Let the Good Times Roll - called "a lightning bolt of a record" by The Los Angeles Times - was released earlier this year on the Rounder label. The band: Jimmy Sutton (bass), Jason Smay (drums), Ray Jacildo (keys), Doug Corcoran (saxophone, guitar, keys).
  • Joe Newberry

    Missouri native and North Carolina transplant Joe Newberry has made music most of his life. He grew up in a family full of singers and dancers, took up the guitar and banjo as a teenager, and learned fiddle tunes from great Missouri fiddlers. He plays with Bruce Molsky and Rafe Stefanini as the Jumpsteady Boys, in a duo with mandolinist Mike Compton, and in a quartet with old-time music legends Bill Hicks, Mike Craver, and Jim Watson. Joe's solo recording, Two Hands, is on the 5-String Productions label.
  • Jearlyn Steele

    Growing up in Indiana, Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele sang with their siblings as The Steele Children. One by one, they moved to Minnesota and started singing together again. Now music is the family business. Jearlyn also hosts Steele Talkin', a Sunday-night radio show on WCCO, Minneapolis. Her most recent solo CD is Jearlyn Steele Sings Songs from A Prairie Home Companion. Jevetta's performance of "Calling You," from the film Baghdad Cafe, was nominated for an Academy Award. Her solo albums include 2006's My Heart.
  • Butch Thompson

    Pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson is known worldwide as a master of ragtime, stride, and classic jazz. Born and raised in Marine-on-St. Croix, Minnesota, Butch was already playing Christmas carols on his mother's upright piano by age three, and he led his first professional jazz group as a teenager. For 12 years, he was A Prairie Home Companion's house pianist, dating back to the show's second broadcast, in July 1974. Butch's many albums include Vicksburg Blues, with guitarist Pat Donohue (Red House Records).
  • Tjärnblom

    Tjärnblom - Swedish for "woodland lake flower" - is a Minneapolis-based Scandinavian-style string band, with Cheryl Paschke and Mary Crimi on nyckelharpa (Swedish key fiddle), Val Eng on harmonium, and Joe Alfano on mandolin, octave mandolin, and guitar. The four friends play a repertoire of Swedish, Finnish, and Minnesota tunes (old and new) that is perfect for dancing or just plain listening. Last year, they released their first album, Nicollet Island Waltz.
  • Macalester College Pipe Band

    The Macalester College Pipe Band - comprising students, faculty, alumni, and community members - is the premier pipe and drum organization in the upper Midwest. Since its founding in 1949, the band has been called on to perform at a wide variety of events, including parades, commencement exercises, and celebrations. And these musicians have played for dignitaries of every stripe, from a U.S. president to a secretary general of the United Nations.
  • Garrison Keillor

    Garrison Keillor was born in 1942 in Anoka, Minnesota. He went to work for Minnesota Public Radio in 1969, and on July 6, 1974, he hosted the first broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion in St. Paul. He is the host of The Writer's Almanac and the editor of the Good Poems series of anthologies from Viking.
  • Rich Dworsky and the band - July 4, 2015

    Richard Dworsky Keyboardist, composer, and arranger Richard Dworsky is APHC's music director. He leads the band, composes themes, improvises script underscores, and collaborates with such diverse guests as Yo-Yo Ma, James Taylor, Brad Paisley, Kristin Chenoweth, and Sheryl Crow. He has released many recordings of original material and has provided music for documentaries on HBO and PBS. Bernie Dresel Bernie Dresel has been in the percussion game since he got his first drum kit at the age of two. After graduating from the Eastman School of Music, he headed to Los Angeles. He's worked with countless artists, from Chaka Khan and Maynard Ferguson to David Byrne and Brian Wilson, and spent 15 years with the Brian Setzer Orchestra. He currently plays with Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band and heads up his own 12-piece funk band, BERN. Larry Kohut Bassist Larry Kohut has played on dozens of albums and many film scores, as well as performing with jazz artists such as Patricia Barber, Mel Torme, Vincent Colaiuta, and Tony Bennett. In addition, he is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago, where he teaches acoustic and electric bass. Richard Kriehn When Richard Kriehn turned 10, his mom bought him a mandolin; at 19, he'd won the Buck White International Mandolin Contest. He went on to play with the Nashville Mandolin Ensemble and bluegrass group 1946. On the classical side, he has performed with numerous orchestras and was principal second violin for the Washington/Idaho Symphony. Chris Siebold Bluegrass to big band jazz, Chris Siebold knows his way around a guitar - or a bunch of other instruments, for that matter. Based in Chicago, he draws from a deep well of influences and styles, and has put his talents to work in ensembles such as Howard Levy's Acoustic Express and Kick the Cat. In 2010, he formed the band Psycles, whose album Live at Martyrs' was released the following year.
  • Tim Russell

    One minute he's mild-mannered Tim Russell; the next he's George Bush or Julia Child or Barack Obama. We've yet to stump this man of many voices. Says fellow APHC actor Sue Scott, "He does a better Ira Glass than Ira Glass." A well-known Twin Cities radio personality and voice actor, Tim appeared in the Robert Altman film A Prairie Home Companion and the Coen brothers' A Serious Man. Tim has also been reviewing films professionally for over 10 years.
  • Sue Scott

    On APHC, Sue Scott plays everything from ditzy teenagers to Guy Noir stunners to leathery crones who've smoked one pack of Camel straights too many. The Tucson, Arizona, native is well known for her extensive commercial and voice-over work on radio and television, as well as stage and movie roles, including the part of "Donna" in Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion.
  • Fred Newman

    Sound effects man Fred Newman is an actor, writer, musician, and sound designer for film and TV. Turns out, no one is more surprised than Fred that he's made a career out of doing what he used to do behind the teacher's back -crossing his eyes, making sounds, and doing voices. He readily admits that, growing up, he was unceremoniously removed from several classrooms, "once by my bottom lip."